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Help Me Choose!

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  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,680
    boomcheck and others are right about the poor reliability of the cars you mention.

    You may not like my 2 cents, but....

    30 years ago I was a college student, and for many years I went through one old unreliable car after another as I went through college, grad school, and then got my first job.

    In retrospect I would have saved a lot of time, headaches, and frustration, and quite a bit of money too, if I'd just gotten a good new car to start with and stuck with it.

    I'm a Honda man myself, and so I personally would see if you could get into a new Civic or Fit.

    But what about this—VW is offering 0% financing with no money down for 66 months on most of its models. The question is would your credit rating qualify. Possibly not. But VWs also give you free maintenance for 3 years.

    If you buy a ten year old car, imho, in a few years you are going to be crying uncle because of the huge repair bills, and then you'll probably have to start all over again looking for another car.

    If you can somehow swing new you might be happier in the long run. Cars today are significantly safer, have better performance and mpg, and are generally more reliable than cars from 10 years ago even when those 10 year old cars were new. And now that they've had who knows what abuse for that time.....
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    For someone trying to save some money, I think a better idea would be a gently USED Civic or Fit... especially since the Fit hasn't changed in several years and the previous-generation Civic is in many ways better than the current car.

    But they are hardly luxury cars. But here's another idea... for not much more than the OP can pay up front, one could get a 3-year lease on a pretty nice car... maybe not "luxury", but very close to it. Some ideas there are the Passat, Sonata, Optima, and maybe others depending on lease rates. And "auto show" time (now) is a good time to lease or buy a new car, usually lowest prices of the year except maybe November. Very little money up front, and almost no costs during the 3 years except monthly payment, gas, insurance, and basic maintenance.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,680
    backy has good advice.

    The only thing against getting a recent Civic or Fit is that they hold their value so well in the first few years that you almost might as well get a new one.

    Leasing might be a good idea, particularly if you don't want to get stuck with a car for a long time.

    3 year lease on a 2013 Accord is available for $239/mo with 2300 down, or $300 a month with 0 down. It's not like you save by putting money down (they are both almost exactly the same $ in the end), and so it seems to me the $300 might be better.

    You say you wanted a luxury car? Well, I bet a 2013 Honda Accord actually offers as much or even more than most luxury cars from 10 years ago. For instance, you get integrated bluetooth, text msg display and reading, backup camera, alloy wheels, 0-60 in 7.7 seconds, which is as fast as a 6 cylinder from 10 years ago, dual climate control, etc.—all standard. And an Accord will save you at least $500 a year in gas compared to a lux car from 10 years ago. Again, there's a question about if you would qualify. Don't know about that.

    http://automobiles.honda.com/accord-sedan/

    If, in a few years, after you've graduated and are making a good income and want a true luxe car, just turn it in and buy a BMW or Lincoln whatever.....

    Similar lease deals, or even cheaper, can be had on Optima, Sonata, Passat, etc.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    As always, it's possible to get a negotiated lease less than advertised prices. Low $200s with 0 out of pocket (maybe first payment) is possible on the Sonata GLS, for example. Probably on the Optima and Passat also. Accord... probably not.
  • Finally it is time to sell the hand me down pontiac! I'm looking for a sporty 2 door with some trunk space for hauling stuff to and from college (not tons of trunk space, just not a tiny trunk) My budget is around $7500. Currently I'm looking at base Chrysler Crossfires, and GT Eclipses. I want a manual, and please no Mustangs. Thanks.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,367
    All I know is I'd want nothing to do with a $7500 Crossfire...
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    Few cars that come to mind immediately:

    -Acura RSX base or Type S: they should be easily in this price range.
    -Honda Civic Coupes 2006 and up: fun to drive, easy on gas, well equipped.
    -Honda Accord coupes, 2003 and up: good trucnk space, you can find them with stick or auto, 4 cyl or V6, should be lot of them around. 4 cyl versions use timing chains not belts so less maintenance to worry about.
    -BMW 3 series coupes, 99 and up: might be high mileage for under $7500 and more expensive to maintain than imports but very sporty and fun to drive.

    These would be my choices.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    I'm pretty sure the crossfire would qualify as having a tiny trunk.

    For a college kid, I'd stay away from anything oddball or complicated.

    A 325 coupe wouldn't be the worst idea, but I'd only consider it if you know of a good indy mechanic near your school that specializes in them.

    Otherwise, stick with the more commonplace and notoriously reliable vehicles, such as the aforementioned Civic/Accord/RSX. Maybe a Celica, although I don't know how the trunk is in that.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    I'm pretty sure the crossfire would qualify as having a tiny trunk.

    We have one - the trunk is minuscule. It'd be a problem if it were our only vehicle.

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    1 - avoid anything European unless you are willing to go much older and more "classic" like a 318Ti or similar E36 series BMW, possibly. Or a late 90s Volvo 850 or a Mercedes C class of the same vintage. (before they got all round and plastic). The main reason is because spare parts and aftermarket clubs and support are easy to find, and they aren't complicated to the point where you can't fix them yourself.

    2 - Lincoln/Ford makes exactly one car that would fit your criteria, the Grand Marquis. Make sure that it's in dark blue or dark red if possible and has the luxury trim package so that it doesn't look like a cop car. (white, black, and tan are NG). They are inexpensive and actually are quite reliable. Parts are cheap as well. Huge trunk as well.

    3 - GM makes a good car for you. It's NOT the Cadillac. It's the same thing with a Buick badge on it for thousands less. Ie - a Buick Lucerne. These can be had for around your price range with the V6 engine. It's basically a Toyota Avalon clone, though, so it's not really "luxury". And while it's as reliable as a tank, it unfortunately handles and accelerates like one. Comfy but sedate would be the way I would describe it.

    My top pick, though, is actually something completely different. I'd give serious consideration to a vehicle with sporty and luxury feel and driving while not being a massive boat that gets 18mpg. This leaves, as I mentioned, an older BMW, Volvo, or Mercedes, or something good from Japan. Which there are tons of cars like this for sale. For instance, a used Lexus IS300 is an excellent choice. A bit of luxury and a bit of sporty at the same time. Reliability is decent and it is quite fun to drive.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited February 2013
    Would a sporty 4 door work as well? I'm not talking GM crap, but more Euro sedans like a BMW or Mercedes. IME, it pays to just go to these sorts of cars if you are buying used, and just do it right. Everything else will simply be a sporty looking exterior with a rental car soul.

    My top pick would be a late (1998 or so) BMW E36. Chose your body style, they're all the same fantastic car underneath. Also, Mercedes made the C230K (sedan and coupe) that got 30mpg and could be had with a manual (thereby avoiding the one major problem area, the automatic transmission). Volvo makes real sleepers sometimes. The 60 series cars were/are excellent and on nobody's radar. But put a manual in it, and it's old-school European fun all over again. VW made the (new)Jetta around that time as well, that could be had with a V6 (VR6) engine. Very nice and very quick. Avoid the 4 and turbo models of that era, though.

    Repairs aren't that cheap, but you do get a fantastic driving experience. (actually the last time I got a part from Toyota for my 4Runner, it was more than I'd paid two years earlier for a similar part for my Mercedes)

    For Japan, really only one vehicle shines as a European clone/competitor in that price range. That is the Lexus IS300 Sport. To me, it had that magic weight distribution and performance that just made it a joy to drive. The IS350 lost that and became more like everyone else's muscle car, and the IS250 was... too slow and heavy. If you've ever driven an old BMW or Volvo (240 turbo or similar), you'll feel like it's a modern version of the same idea. Light, agile, and very well composed.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,682
    An alternative to an Accord coupe is the Camry Solara. Kinda rare in this price range, but would be reliable and would have a decent trunk. Looks pretty sporty even if it doesn't DRIVE sporty.

    The Celica would be a good choice also, esp. in hatchback form... no, not a true coupe then, but two doors and the hatch would be more versatile than a coupe.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,692
    Another vote for a Celica hatchback...

    Very hard to find an Acura RSX under $10K... no way to get an RSX-S for that..

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  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    Very hard to find an Acura RSX under $10K... no way to get an RSX-S for that..

    There is a ton of them on Craigslist in Vancouver right now that are under $10k (82 to be exact), some being the Type S model.

    When going to the US to shop for groceries I pick up those car dealer flyers at supermarkets and noticed that US prices for used cars are same or more than in Canada recently.

    It used to be the other way around 5 years ago with a ton of people importing US cars up here to save a few bucks.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,692
    Well... I have to admit, I haven't shopped in Canada.. :)

    In my area, an RSX-S doesn't drop below $10K, unless the mileage is over 140K miles...

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  • So over the past few months I've researched and test driven a few cars and I'm still at a standstill in the conclusion. My top choices are as follows: 2009-2012 BMW 3 series (328i,330i,335i), Dodge Dart limited, or 2009-2012 Audi A4.

    I don't know all the differences with the BMW series but I love the sleek fine design they have and the prestige reputation of comfort and reliability. Any owner reviews or suggestions would be appreciated. I'd be looking into purchasing a used model, what's the best year 2009-2012?

    Audi A4 is along the lines of the BMW series but I don't see what makes them different than BMW besides slight price range. Better than BMW?

    The Dodge Dart Limited, I know, seems crazy to be compared to the other giants, however after test driving a few darts I was surprised how much they bring to the table when fully loaded (costs approx. 27,000 loaded)

    What I'm looking for in a vehicle:

    1. $30,000 price range, new or used

    2. Coupe or Sedan with comfortable front seats, back seats do not matter no comfort. (I am 6 foot tall)

    3. Comfort, for long and short rides

    4. Fuel efficiency 26+ MPG combined

    5. Premium audio system

    6. Reliability for 5+ years

    7. Insurance costs: anything not labeled a "sports car"
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    I've seen some Dart's on the road and the look decent. Kind of reminds me of 1994 when the go-cart-ish Dodge Neon hit the streets....and was quite the hit for awhile. Dodge has a history of some very trendy cool cars....for a few years then they age quickly and fade. I'd hate to drop $27k on one though regardless....I think it will be worth next to nothing in five years.

    I think either the 3-series or A4 would be a decent vehicle. Should be relatively reliable but you will spend a lot on maintenance and even minor repairs. If you really like the cars though...it can be worth it. I would much rather buy a used 3 than a new Dart for the same money. If we're talking $20k then perhaps it's a different story. MPG on the germans likely isn't going to hit your target even if the EPA says so. The Audi turbo doesn't do as well as the EPA sticker says. One other neg to the germans is that insurance will likely be pricey if you're younger (as it sounds).

    Just to throw out another worth checking out....Altima V6. Should be right in that price range loaded out, good performance (not Euro-worthy but not bad), decent features, cheaper insurance, mpg should be close, and should be a smooth five years in the maintenance/reliability category.
  • tifightertifighter WAPosts: 1,367
    Dart? First model year? And $27k? I'd rather have someone else take that plunge.

    If I'm really serious about reliability over a 5 year period, I'd be leery of any used Audi too. A CPO 3 series would be a better bet; I had a solid BMW experience but the maintenance is higher.

    I like sebring's Altima suggestion and I'd throw out the new Accord as well; you can get a Sport model (even with a 6sp MT!) that has received great reviews, looks good and it seems like a stupid good value for the money. You can get a V6 like the Nissan, too.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    Have you driven a 335? I think if you do, you would instantly forget about the others.

    Only problem is, 26mpg is the highway number. I get under 24 with 80% highway driving in my 135.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

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